Man Runs 100 Marathons in 100 Days for Clean Water in Africa
Lifewater’s Daren Wendell finishes journey across the USA, helps over 3,500 in Ethiopia
Last month endurance athlete Daren Wendell, 33, finished running his 100th consecutive marathon in 100 days. His run from Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to Times Square, New York raised $140,000 for clean water in Africa.
Daren’s run began on January 1st and finished among a crowd of well-wishers from across the country on April 10th, after his 100th straight marathon. (The actual average distance per day was 29 miles, about 3 miles longer than a marathon.) In the grueling journey he endured scorching deserts, snowstorms, wild dogs, collapsed bridges, and painful blisters. Daren also met dozens of people who showed great kindness and generosity. Strangers pulled over to offer him water. Friends and churches often hosted him and his crew in their home for an evening, a welcome break from the camping trailer they called home.
Along the way, Daren was accompanied by over 200 runners joining him for various lengths as well, the youngest being 5 and the oldest 72. Many of them donated and helped by raising money from their own friends and family. The money raised will be used by Lifewater International to help 3,500 people in southern Ethiopia.
“Daren’s story and his passion are really inspiring. He’s making a sacrifice that resonates with the people he meets, and we’re proud of his commitment to people in need of safe water,” says Lifewater CEO Justin Narducci.
When he began his run on January 1st, he had raised just over $30,000 toward his goal of $100,000, but the awareness and donations increased as his story was picked up by international news. By April 10th, he had raised $130,000. Daren founded Activewater, now the athletic arm of Lifewater, to equip athletes who want to help people in Africa and Asia get safe water and sanitation.
“We’re going to help a lot of people. I couldn’t be more excited about it.” says Wendell. “About a month before this run I traveled to Ethiopia through Lifewater International and was able to see and meet the people that we’re going to partner with to help. People are really excited that we’re not just giving money, but there’s somebody giving up their body and time as well.”
This isn’t Daren’s first feat of endurance. He has biked across the United States, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and swam 50 miles across Lake Michigan. After this one, though, Daren says he’s ready for a break. He returns to his role as Donor Engagement Lead at Lifewater, where he’ll continue to help the poor in Africa and Asia access clean water and better lives.
Read more about Daren’s epic journey or donate at rundarenrun.com
Lifewater International is a non-profit Christian water development organization dedicated to effectively serving vulnerable children and families by partnering with underserved communities to overcome water poverty. With experience in more than 40 countries since 1977, Lifewater serves people of all faiths, focusing on contextually appropriate water sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) development. For more information, contact Christine Zurbach (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.lifewater.org. Lifewater International is based in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Photo Credit: Susan Watts, New York Daily News